Republicans have frequently had to awkwardly defend or flat-out denounce the actions of former President Donald Trump.
And it’s unlikely to be the last time they have to deal with connections between members of their own party and white supremacists.
Kevin McCarthy, the leader of the House Republicans, erred in saying to the media on Tuesday that Trump condemned Nick Fuentes after having dinner with him. He may have shown too much faith in the former president’s denial that he was unaware of Fuentes.
However, McCarthy’s own criticism of one of Trump’s dinner companions—”I don’t think anybody should be spending any time with Nick Fuentes”—is undermined by his promise to give two of his members who have done so their committee assignments back.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia, delivered the keynote address at Fuentes’ own event in Florida in February, where attendees cheered Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to Will Steakin of ABC News. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., participated in a video that was shown at this year’s America First Political Action Conference. He attended a comparable event the year before.
However, both of them have a place in McCarthy’s conference. McCarthy has not followed through on his promise to reinstate Greene and Gosar to the committees from which they had been removed by Democrats and some other Republicans, and he is unlikely to do so as long as he needs their support to become the House speaker in January.
McCarthy was harsher in his criticism of Trump than Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Senate’s Republican party. In remarks to reporters on Tuesday, he added a prognostication that may have more in common with wishful thinking than with reality: “Anyone meeting with people advocating that point of view, in my judgment, are highly unlikely to ever be elected president of the United States.”
To prevent a potential nationwide rail strike that experts estimate would increase inflation and cost the economy $2 billion per day, the House is anticipated to consider legislation as soon as this Wednesday.
However, the pursuit of the legislative effort to force the rail workers into a deal is opening the door to unexpected crossovers in Congress. Joe Biden’s support for the bill presents difficult political optics for a president who made supporting unions a cornerstone policy of his administration.
Chuck Schumer, the majority leader in the Senate, said he and Mitch McConnell “agreed we’d try to get it done ASAP” and that his chamber would follow suit in bringing the bill to a vote.
The bill’s chances of passing in either chamber is uncertain, and while congressional leadership appears to support the president’s preferred course, some Republican lawmakers are unexpectedly endorsing progressive viewpoints.
Republicans such as Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia also voiced support for the issues brought up by rail workers in the negotiations, such as demands regarding scheduling and sick leave, while expressing skepticism about the necessity of congressional involvement.
In Arizona, a vocal opponent of the election results has repeatedly threatened to challenge the results in her own race but hasn’t yet done so.
In a video shared on social media on Monday night, Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, who is expected to lose to Democrat Katie Hobbs, the secretary of state, said she has been preparing a formal legal challenge against the results. Lake refused to give in to Hobbs.
Hobbs and outside organizations filed a lawsuit after Cochise County officials in the state decided to postpone certifying election results on Monday in defiance of the state’s deadline. According to experts who spoke with ABC News, the most likely outcome is that the courts will order Cochise County to accept the outcome because the county hasn’t expressed any concerns about the vote there rather than in neighboring, larger Maricopa County, which has already certified its results.